Clean Energy Law and Environmental Constitutionalism
In this seminar, we will be learning about and discussing the newly emerging "clean energy law" and "climate change law" as federal courts review the EPA's Clean Power Plan on appeal and clean energy development policies and financing solutions accelerate in the United States and global markets. This seminar will take place in "real time" while: (1) There is rapidly developing clean energy case law as key new decisions are being issued by the United States Supreme Court and other federal courts and by state courts in this area of emerging law; (2) The U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit are reviewing the EPA's Clean Power Plan rule; (3) The Executive Branch is advancing clean energy policies and financial incentives, such as the extension of the Production Tax Credit for wind power and Investment Tax Credit for solar energy; (4) State and municipal governments are moving to implement clean energy development policies and innovative financing approaches; (5) States are taking divergent approaches to implementing the Clean Power Plan standards; and (6) The private sector is accelerating investments in cleaner energy and cleaner transportation developments and strategies.
One key opportunity and challenge for our society and government policymakers at all levels is how to construct policies that support both environmental progress -- healthier air and cleaner water, and open space with diverse habitat -- and economic growth together. This challenge is compounded by the growing realization that we must have policies that meet not just immediate needs, but future generations' needs as well by reducing carbon pollution that causes destructive climate change and by preserving natural resources both for their future use and their own intrinsic value. We will focus special attention on both the legal authorities and limitations under the Constitution and federalist system that policymakers, litigants and the public face in trying to achieve this goal.
Final paper of 25-30 pages on a seminar-related topic of the student's choice. An additional 1.0 credit of Research (Law 900) is available for students writing a longer paper of 40-50 pages, which they are seeking to publish in a law journal or other similar venue.
Course requirements are engaged class participation (33% of grade) and the final paper (67% of grade). There are no prerequisites for the seminar although a previous environmental law or natural resources law class, and constitutional law and administrative law course(s), will be helpful.
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